Macquarie University
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Creating a renewables giant: the rise of national champions in India's solar sector

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posted on 2022-11-03, 04:54 authored by Simran Keshwani

The energy sector in India is undergoing significant disruptions, displacing an economic growth model predicated on the growing use of fossil fuels to a new type of economic growth trajectory based on renewables. India, in the past decade, has also rapidly emerged as the world's fifth largest user of solar energy. What sets India apart from other national 'green growth' initiatives is the country's growing specialisation in the solar integration segment of the manufacturing value chain. This includes solar developer and EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) firms such as Adani Green, ReNew Power, Sterling & Wilson, Azure Power, Larsen & Toubro among others. How do we account for the rise of these globally competitive 'latecomer' firms from a developing country such as India? I argue that developmentally oriented bureaucrats in India's renewable energy sector have been critical in creating a domestic institutional context, which has sought to create networks of interdependence between government and business actors reminiscent of the type seen in East Asia's former "tiger economies". By illuminating the political and institutional conditions over the emergence of a developmental project in India's renewables sector, my aim is to broaden understandings of the Indian state's guiding role in the economy – beyond narrow and simplistic portrayals pertaining to India's so-called weak state. 


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: introduction -- Chapter 2: developing countries and the scope for developmental activism in the global green revolution -- Chapter 3: the political economy of the Indian state - popular 'weak- state' conceptualisations -- Chapter 4: the push to scale-up solar integration in India -- Chapter 5: The makings of a developmental state in the Indian solar industry? -- Chapter 6: conclusion: recasting India's so-called 'weak state' -- References -- Appendix

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Macquarie School of Social Sciences, Discipline of Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Macquarie School of Social Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Sung-Young Kim


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90 pages